Expert advice: Nigel Howlett, UK Digital Business Leader, PwC, outlines their scale-up programme

Scott Law

Growth brings with it new challenges. The initial pains of starting the business are behind you but to ensure that you continue to thrive you need to stay ahead of industry trends and continue to develop products and services. Whilst the issues you face might be new to you, PwC and their clients have been there before, and are now looking to share this knowledge via their scale-up programme, PwC SCALE. We spoke to Nigel Howlett, UK digital private business leader at PwC, to explain more about the programme and who it will be applicable to.

Please can you give us an overview of the scale-up programme?

PwC SCALE aims to provide the missing link between fast-growth scale-ups and large organisations by connecting them with potential customers, industry decision makers, investors and leading experts who can procure, partner, go-to-market, advise or invest in their business.

Our SCALE programmes are delivered regionally and by sector, with this round taking place in Edinburgh, the Midlands (both sector agnostic) and London, focusing on fintech, commerce, health and govtech.

Why did PwC decide to launch them?

Being passionate believers of smart collaboration and recognising the impact small but scaling companies are having on industries, we decided to launch a series of scale-up programmes that provide the missing link between the world of corporates and the startup ecosystem.

There is a well established support network for startups that are earlier stage, but once companies have a product and are ready to make sales there is less support. We’re offering a way to meet potential customers and make sure scale-ups are fit for purpose.

From an internal standpoint, PwC is not immune to disruption and we need to be just as switched on to the developing technologies and business models as our clients. SCALE sits within PwC Digital Private Business, which serves the startup, scale-up and SME market and this is part of that suite of services and products where PwC can support companies through different stages of their growth journey.

What companies qualify for the programme? Is there a set criteria?

Our fixed term programmes are specifically tailored for later stage companies, with validated products, revenue generating, approaching series A funding or above and looking to scale. Companies can be from anywhere around the globe, the key criteria is that they’re looking to expand into the UK market.

Are you looking at companies from any particular area of technology?

We’re looking at all areas of B2B technology, with the regional programmes being sector agnostic but in this round of programmes there are programmes specifically focusing on fintech, commerce, health and govtech in London.

What areas of support does the programme offer to companies involved? And where does your involvement end?

We recognise that scale-ups are after access to new customers and in some cases gaining further investment. In our SCALE programmes we help businesses become fit for scaling at the same time as opening the doors to our network, facilitating introductions with executive decisions makers and funding opportunities with a broad range of investors.

The programme provides expert opt-in masterclasses to enable the business to be fit for scaling, whether that be back office tax, legal, finance, systems, recruitment or more commercially focussed sales and marketing, how to pitch to corporates and investor readiness.

Once the programme closes the scale-ups join the alumni network where we keep in regular contact and continue to provide support on the growth journey through further introductions and PwC support.

Can you give examples of previous success stories?

Previous participants in PwC’s scale-up programmes raised £60 million in equity on joining and have since gone on to raise a further £24 million, demonstrating rapid progression and quality. As well as investment, the cohorts were introduced to over 500 relevant senior stakeholders which has so far enabled over 70 revenue generating pilots which have proved beneficial for both the scale-ups and the large organisations they work with.

When can companies apply, and how should they go about applying?

Applications are open now, you can apply on our website here: http://www.pwc.co.uk/scaleprogrammes

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